About Me

Sok Sobi. I enjoy taking pictures of people and places, particular interest in Landscape, People and Travel photography. Pictures and stories that bring Social Awareness and the potential for long term social change or policy are important to me. I use Canon Digital Cameras (EOS 1Ds,1D Mk1,2,4 plus Powershot G11) with a selection of Canon lenses, the 24-105 IS f4L being my favourite at present. I use Lightroom & Photoshop Elements to edit my work. Canon equipment and lenses give me just what I need, reliability and high IQ. I am now living and working in Cambodia, South East Asia, using Phnom Penh as a base to explore the region. I publish stories that are important to me on my blog but always try to give a balanced picture.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Blindness in Cambodia

Only after having taken this image did I start to think about how many blind people I have seen in Cambodia, especially elderly people.
It's estimated that over 120,000 people are blind in Cambodia, half of those from cataracts.
Cataracts mainly affect the elderly, causing eventual blindness due to clouding of the clear lens that enables the eye to focus, it is a long term degenerative process but it can be treated.

“In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina,” he said. “The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred.” Dr.Nuch Sarita

Sadly also, there are lot of people coming in their mid-20s who are blind from vitamin A deficiency, who could be refered to as being Pol Pot's children, because they had a diet of rice gruel, totally deficient in fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and their eyes were destroyed.

“The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery, which is recommended when cataracts begin to affect the quality of life or interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities,” he said. “Cataract surgery is successful in about 95 percent of all cases, with improved vision.” Nuch Sarita

Surgery is available in Cambodia but, if done privately is expensive and therefore unavailable to the mainly poor and empoverished people of Cambodia. They mainly rely on a number of NGO's and also The Seva Foundation working in Siem Reap,that offer the treatment free to those who need it. Not all who need the treatment will get it unfortunately as only a small number of NGO's and limited resource prevent this at the moment.

''much has been achieved in recent years. Prior to 1995, there were no doctors in Cambodia that had any training in the treatment of eye disorders and diseases; so if you were blind, you remained so. Since then, the government has set up the National Sub Committee for Prevention of Blindness (now known as the National Eye Health Program), supported by a number of local and international non-government organisations''. ''there is a patient subsidy system in place to ensure the poorest of the poor have access to quality eye care services. Over time, as trust in the public eye health system grows, more people will use the services and enable a tiered pricing system, whereby wealthier paying patients subsidise the treatment of poorer patients''.FHF Foundation


Seva Foundation  http://blog.seva.ca/?cat=4 
or http://www.seva.org/site/PageServer

Cambodia's National Eye Care Programme and VISION 2020: The Right to Sight



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